The critical transition period for employment and growth in the driverless vehicle industry in Australia will come in 2025 when more than 900 direct jobs will have been created, a new industry-commissioned report has found.
The report by consultants MacroPlan Dimasi confirmed Australia remained well placed to be a global supplier and implementer of driverless vehicles, and the nation could expect new mobility-service value chains to emerge.
Growth in the autonomous vehicle industry, and the development and increased use of new driverless-vehicle technologies, should provide the country with a major productivity boost and a range of new employment opportunities.
The report, commissioned by leading industry body Australia and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative, comes ahead of a three-day international driverless vehicle summit to be held in Adelaide from October 31.
MacroPlan Dimasi said its conservative estimate was that spending on services such as information technology and communications in the driverless car sector would average $280 million a year to 2025, resulting in 932 direct jobs and 1059 indirect full-time-equivalent jobs each year.
The report predicted level-4 vehicles, where no driver attention is required for safety tasks, would be common on Australian roads by 2023 and automated shuttles would be widely used.
It said by 2026 the industry in Australia would go through an accelerated take-up phase with both job gains and losses.
Forecasts show a total net jobs increase of 3261 a year from 2026 to 2035, and more than 9200 jobs between 2036 and 2045, when key job gains would be in the professional, scientific and technical services industry.
However, the report warned there would be job losses, mainly in the transport, postal and warehousing industries as fewer staff would be required because of automated vehicles replacing drivers.
Australia has at least 15 connected and automated vehicle trials and pilot programs under way across the country. Most states have made it possible for autonomous vehicles to be tested on their roads, but regulators have taken a largely cautious approach.